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Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires (province) : Buenos Aires
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For other places with the same name, see Buenos Aires (disambiguation).

Buenos Aires city (official name Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, also called Federal Capital) is the capital of the Argentine Republic. It is one of the largest cities in Latin America, with a lot of cultural offerings, and is the point of departure for travelling to the rest of the country.

Puerto Madero

Districts

The City of Buenos Aires has about 50 districts called barrios. The most important and visited are:

Understand

The city is geographically contained inside the province of Buenos Aires, but it is politically autonomous. Its coordinates are 34º 36' S, 58º 26' W.

The city extends on a plain covering 19.4 kilometers (12 miles) from north to south and 17.9 kilometers (11 miles) from east to west.

Approximately three million people live in the City of Buenos Aires (the Federal Capital of Argentina with 202 square kilometers equivalent to 78.3 sq miles). The City is divided into 48 districts or barrios. Together with its metropolitan area or Greater Buenos Aires (Gran Buenos Aires) this is one of the ten most populated urban centers in the world with over 10 million people. Most of the country's activity is highly concentrated in this single city and its surroundings.

Buenos Aires constantly receives tourists from all over the world and offers a large choice cultural events, nightlife, restaurants and pubs, so you can expect good services and a wide range of options.

Buenos Aires has also one of the largest homosexual communities in Latin America and there is a liberal attitude towards gay society. Within Capital Federal gay couples can form a legal civil partnership. Following the economic recovery, in recent years there has been an increase in gay-friendly businesses such as real estate, apartment rental, travel agents, language classes, tango classes, bars, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses. Year 2006 has seen arrivals of more gay cruise ships, the commencement of construction of a gay 5-star hotel and a general increase in gay tourism.

Newspapers

If you want to learn about local issues, there are many newspapers in Buenos Aires, most of them with internet versions. Some of them:

Get in

By plane

Ezeiza International Airport (IATA: EZE) (ICAO: SAEZ)

Ricchieri Highway, Km. 22. Tel. 5480-6111 - International and some domestic flights use the Ezeiza International Airport (referred to as Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini), located in the suburban area named Gran Buenos Aires, about 30-45 minutes from downtown by highway. Planes fly to most countries in South America, the United States, and Europe.

Some flights from Aerolíneas Argentinas to Ushuaia leave from Ezeiza during peak season, so check which airport you fly into or leave from.

There is also a useful Aerolínas Argentinas flight direct to Sydney, with a stop in Auckland and a twice-weekly Malaysian Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur via Cape Town and Johannesburg. Direct flights to Europe are available with British Airways (with a stop in Sao Paulo) [1], Lufthansa [2], Iberia [3] and Air France [4]. There is a departure tax of $18 USD (about 54 pesos) for all international flights.

From the airport there are the usual taxis, private cars (remises), buses and minibuses.

Trips on the comfortable Manuel Tienda León coaches from EZE to Retiro cost 25 pesos (as of December 2005). The coaches leave at least once an hour - more frequently during daytime. From the Retiro Terminal, a smaller van will deliver you to any downtown address for an additional 2 pesos. Manuel Tienda León also offers transfers between EZE and Aeroparque. Tickets can be purchased from their booth just outside of customs.

Prepaid taxis from EZE to downtown cost about 75 pesos. Hailing a non-prepaid taxi is not recommended for tourists, but if doing so be aware that there is a 2 peso toll and a 0.80 peso toll if the driver goes by the autopista; the driver will inform you as you approach the toll booths.

Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (IATA: AEP) (ICAO: SABE)

Located in the Ave. Rafael Obligado. 4576-5300 extension 107/122 (Information: 4576-1111). Most domestic flights use the smaller Jorge Newbery Airport ( referred to as Aeroparque), 10 minutes away from the downtown area. You can take a taxi (25 pesos) or bus from there.

By train

There are some long distance domestic services. Buses are usually faster and more comfortable, but also three times as expensive. There are several main stations in the BA area (see below).

  • Retiro - Córdoba:
Sale: Lunes y Viernes 20.10 hs. :Llega: Martes y Sábado 10.25 hs.
  • Córdoba - Retiro:
Sale: Jueves y Domingo 16.30 hs. :Llega: Viernes y Lunes 7.33 hs.
25 pesos (tourist class)
  • Retiro - Tucumán:
Sale: Lunes: 10.05 hs. :Llega: Martes 10.40 hs.
  • Tucumán - Retiro:
Sale: Miércoles 18.00 hs. :Llega: Jueves 19.20 hs.
35 pesos (tourist class)

By car

Theoretically, you can get to Buenos Aires from any of the neighboring countries by car, but it is far away from most of the borders. It is only common to travel there from Uruguay and southern Brazil.

By bus

Bus travel times to/from Buenos Aires:

  • Mendoza: 13-17 hours
  • Córdoba: 9 hours
  • Bariloche: 22 hours
  • Iguazú: 20 hours
  • Rosario: 4 hours

Almost all the long-distance buses use the huge and well-organised Retiro bus station on the northern edge of the city centre. The buses are mostly modern and the roads are good; there are frequent services to most parts of the country and international bus services to neighbouring countries.

You may catch taxis from Retiro bus station, and the subte (underground) also stops there. There are many local buses that stop outside the station as well.

By boat

There are daily journeys to and from Colonia and Montevideo in Uruguay.

Two companies operate this service.

  • Buquebus - Puerto Madero terminal - Córdoba avenue & Madero avenue. 4316-6400/6500/6550.
  • Ferrytour - Dársena Norte terminal - Viamonte & Costanera Sur - 4311-4700

The services are now coordinated by Buquebus. The ferrytour ship is the slower one, used for Colonia. You may still make a fast trip to Colonia, at a higher price.

From the official city site:

The City is an important destination for the maritime and fluvial cruisers industry of South America. The Benito Quinquela Martín Passenger Terminal, a few blocks away from downtown, at Ramón Castillo street between Avenida de los Inmigrantes and Mayor Luisioni street, has a surface of 7,100 square meters, a boarding room for 1,000 passengers and baggage facilities with capacity for 2,500 suitcases. In addition, it provides tourist information, handicrafts shops, snack bars; and Migration, Customs, Interpol and Prefectura (Coast Guard) Offices.

You may also take a boat from nearby Tigre to Nueva Palmira in Uruguay. Trains leave from Retiro Station to Tigre frequently. Boat services to Nueva Palmira also connect to Colonia del Sacramento by bus.

There is also a service from Montevideo-Carmelo-Tigre-Buenos Aires. It costs around 10 dollars one way for the whole shebang. Get the tickets and depart from Tres Cruces in Montevideo. The price includes bus to Carmelo, boat to Tigre and bus to the centre of Buenos Aires. The official website is http://www.cacciolaviajes.com and they often have very good special offers that include some nights in hotels in Buenos Aires.

Get around

The public transport in Buenos Aires is very good, if crowded during the rush hours. There is a fairly large metro network (one of the longest in Latin America), a large range of bus routes and many suburban railways used by commuters.

Finding your way around is easy. Most of the city grid is divided into equal squares with block number in the hundreds. Most streets are one way with the adjacent parallels going the other way, so beware that the bus or taxi won't follow the same route back. Going by taxi, you simply need to tell the driver the street and block number, eg. "Santa Fe 2100"; or two intersecting streets, eg. "Corrientes y Callao".

City maps are issued by many different publishers (Guía T, LUMI) and the local tourist authority. They are indispensable for those wanting to use public transportation, since they include all bus routes.

By Taxi

Taxis are not the quickest option for moving around in the most congested areas at rush hours, as traffic jams are common. Still, you will find that taxis are usually very inexpensive, convenient, and exciting (in a white-knuckled, the roller-coaster-seems-to-have-some-pieces-missing kind of way.)

It is safest to have your hotel or host call for a radio taxi. If you must hail a cab on the street, watch out for private operators disguised as commercial services. Also avoid paying in large bills as there have been cases of counterfeit change.

If a taxi driver says that your money is counterfeit and says that he will take you to an ATM, just tell him you want to get out there. I worked at a hostel in Buenos Aires and heard many stories of travelers (especially when they spoke little Spanish and were coming from the airport) being robbed under this premise. It also helps if you see a police officer nearby because if they are trying to rob you they will probably be scared off. If you are headed to a hostel or hotel, the receptionist will usually understand the situation if you honestly do have counterfeit money, and will lend you money to pay the cab.

Also, if the cab "breaks down", I would recommend just getting out and finding another cab.

I would also recommend keeping your luggage in the seat with you if possible in case a situation arises in which you want to get out of the taxi.

By Bus

The principal means of public transportation within the city, are the buses (colectivos). They have a cheap maximum fixed price as long as you are moving inside the city borders (0.80 pesos, approx. 0.2 euros); be sure to have coins for the ticket (they don't accept bills).

There are more than one hundred lines, covering the whole city. They work 24 hours a day, the whole year; but run less frequently on holidays and at late hours. For each route the bus is painted differently to make them easier to distinguish. The best way to figure out the bus system is to buy a Guía "T". It's essentially a little book with a directory of streets, which correspond to map pages, and have a bus listing on the facing page for each map. Once you get your hands on one, it's very easy to figure out. These can be bought for about three pesos (the smaller one that only covers the Ciudad Autónoma is three pesos, not the larger Gran Bs As one) at many kiosks around the city.

Otherwise, visitors who are comfortable with speaking a little Spanish can call 131 toll-free from any phone for help finding which colectivo to take. You just have to tell the corner (or the street and the number) where you`re at and the one you want to get to.

On many services, board the bus and tell the driver your destination (or do what Argentines do -- just say "ochenta, por favor" meaning you'll be traveling a normal distance and want to pay 80 centavos); he will press a button instructing the coin machine to take a certain amount of money for you, which will then appear on the machine as the amount to insert. Step a bit further back into the bus and insert coins into the machine which now knows your destination and has calculated your fare because the driver punched it in. You will receive change and your ticket automatically, collect it at the bottom of the machine.

If you see a little metal knob on the coin machine, it's not for dispensing your ticket like the candy/toy machines in grocery stores in the U.S. ... it's the door to the inside of the machine to change the paper and whatnot. Don't turn it!

You can also use buses to move to and inside the suburban area (Gran Buenos Aires), but the fares are higher (up to 2 pesos, depending on the distance and service). The suburban-only lines (you can differentiate them because their line numbers are above 200) have lower standards of confort, and many of them don't run after 11 pm.

By metro

The city has a long metro network (subte', short form of subterráneo, which means underground). It is very efficient - you can gain a lot of time by using it - and very cheap too (0.70 pesos for any combination, approx. 0.175 euros).

The lines converge to the downtown area and connect the main bus and train terminals. The tree-shaped network extends almost to the outer limits of the city.

In the southeast branch (the E line), the service is extended by a nice trainway known as premetro, but beware, it goes to some of the least secure places in the city. Premetro is 0.60 pesos (approx. 0.15 euros), or 0.70 with a Subte Transfer.

The subte works approximately from 5 am to 10 pm, except on Sundays, when service starts at 8 am.

The A line is a destination on its own because of the old wooden carriages. It is the one of the oldest lines in Latin America. The subte article on Wikipedia has some information on this. Many subte stations have interesting murals, tiles, and artwork. Transferring between lines is indicated by combinación signs.

You may purchase magnetic stripe tickets encoded with more than one fare. This saves the time of individual cashier transactions; and you may also buy a rechargeable card at some stations. Tickets are not swiped upon exiting stations, therefore you may use one magnetic stripe ticket for more than one traveller, as long as it has the required number of fares.

By Train

There are a good deal of railways connecting the suburban area in a star shape. The quality of the service ranges from excellent to very bad, depending of the line; ask before using them at nighttime.

The main railway terminals are Retiro, Constitución, Once and Federico Lacroze. From all of these you can then use the metro and bus network to get right into the centre. The suburban fares are very cheap.

More information:

  • Metrovias: Urquiza trainway and metro
    • Good service, safe for travelling at any hour.
  • Metropolitano: San Martín, Roca, Belgrano Sur and other trainways.
    • Usually the worst service, and the least secure one. Used to be a acceptable service, but there are corruption issues.
  • TBA: Sarmiento and Mitre trainways
    • Good service and mostly good trains. The Sarmiento line is so far the most used one, is totally overhauled and can be very difficult to use in rush hours; also covers unsafe places. The Mitre line, in one of its branches (which covers the richest zones) has the best trains seen here and in Latin America, featuring air conditioning, internal heating and very comfortable seats. This branch takes you to some really beautiful places like "Tigre", a very picturesque small town with old french-style little houses and a beautiful walkside by the river near a theme park, Parque de la Costa in the north of the suburban area.
  • Trenes del Litoral: From Posadas (neighbooring Paraguay) to Estacion Frederico Lacroze throught Paso de los Libres (neighbooring Brazil) and Concordia (neighbooring Uruguay).
    • Fair service, depending on the price. All cars are a little dirty and the train is very slow (20 huors). Tourist Class have a bad service, but First Class or the Dormitory Class are fairly comfortable. It is better to go by bus, using the "coche cama" service. About 11 hours from Posadas to Buenos Aires or by plane in 1.5 hours.

By Car

If one is truly adventurous (and has a bit of a death-wish), cars are available to rent in Buenos Aires. There are several major reasons that this is not a great idea. First, Buenos Aires is such an excellent city for walking that if something is within 20 or 30 blocks, it is often worth the extra effort to go on foot and get to know the city on a more intimate level. The terrain is flat...get out there and put those legs to work! Second, if you aren't (or can't be) much of a walker, the public transportation system in Buenos Aires is cheap and efficient. It can get you anywhere, and fast! Third, and perhaps most importantly, is that the citizens of Buenos Aires drive like lunatics. Stoplights, signs, traffic laws...for many porteño drivers, those are just *suggestions.* Picture trying to get several thousand head of cattle to move down the street and stay inside the lanes, and you have a decent idea of driving in Buenos Aires. Surprisingly, one witnesses very few traffic accidents there, because traffic flows more by custom and intuition...the porteños understand the customs of driving and somehow manage to know what everyone around them is doing. As a tourist, *you* probably won't. My advice? Take the bus! Otherwise, lots of luck to you.

See

If you are a fan of walking in open green spaces and parks in big cities like Buenos Aires, be sure not to miss a promenade in Palermo, a beautiful area in the eastern part of the city. Here you will not only find open spaces to walk in, but a large lake where you can rent paddle boats and an immense flower garden with free entry!

Another great place to walk along and experience Argentine street life in a safe area (during the day only, folks - interesting characters emerge here at night!) is El Puerto de Buenos Aires.

The National Immigration Museum is not open on the weekends like Moon Guidebooks says. Use the Retiro subte.

La Boca has the Caminito pedestrian street with arts and crafts. There is also a river cruise you can take from there. There is a huge metal structure across the river which is picturesque. Tango dancers are in the cobblestone streets. You may try to catch a rowboat to Avellaneda on the other side of the water for 0.50 pesos (0.125 euros), but the rower may not allow you to if you are a tourist, citing it´s dangerous (peligroso). There is no subte to La Boca, but many buses go there. In addition to tango, La Boca is famous for its football, and you may also take a tour of the La Bombonera Stadium. The buildings are painted in bright colors. You can also take pictures with you and a tango dancer for a small price!

The Cementerio de la Recoleta: This is where all the rich families in Buenos Aires go to be buried. Be sure to visit the grave of Eva Peron (who, despite having the most visited tomb in the cemetery, is considered by many of the Buenos Aires aristocracy to be too "low class" for eternal interrment in Recoleta.)

The Palermo Viejo district: This is a trendy neighborhood with charming cobblestone streets, bookstores, bars and boutiques; definitely better than the touristic San Telmo area for a nightime excursion. The Plaza Italia station is the closest metro stop.

More information is available at the Buenos Aires official tourism website, including suggested itineraries.

Do

  • Tango: A trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without some sort of experience of the Tango, national dance of Argentina. For information of tango events, happening, lessons and more, visit http://www.buenosairestango.com/.
  • Explore: Buenos Aires is definitely a walking city, with many diverse areas and attractions all within close range of each other. Therefore an excellent way to explore the city is on foot, with Buenos Aires Travel Guide providing suggested routes - also see Tango History for further information on walking tours and a guide to exploring Buenos Aires.
  • Whats Up Buenos Aires* was started to show the visitor a side of Buenos Aires culture not found in any guidebook or tourist agency. Art, Theater, Culture, Tango, Music, Nightlife, MP3s, Interviews, and more. http://www.whatsupbuenosaires.com

Learn

Another option for learning Spanish is to take classes in a private language school. One such school that offers classes in the Recoleta neighborhood is Interhispanica: http://www.interhispanica.com.ar Another that offers lessons in the center of the city is Ibero Spanish School: http://www.iberospanish.com

Work

Employment is available for Spanish-speaking visitors who plan longer stays in Buenos Aires.

Nowadays call-centers are very common places for foreigners to work at. There are companies that provide Customer Care and Technical Support services to many big American and European companies like Microsoft, Verizon, Vodafone, Motorola and others. If you speak just a bit of Spanish you can get this kind of job and get a good deal.

Another option is to teach your mother tongue (English, German, French, or whatever you speak) in private institutes. If you have the material and some training, you can also give private classes on your own. The Buenos Aires Herald's classified section is a good place to advertise to new students.

Buy

If you are interested in buying goods, you have a lot of shops in the downtown area, and many shopping centers, but be aware, you can get much cheaper goods if you walk around the city.

If you want a souvenir, the most popular are:

  • The mate: It is a sort of cup made from different materials, commonly from a dessicated vegetal core, sometimes with silver or gold ornaments; which is used to drink mate, the most traditional social non-alcoholic beverage. The mate is drunk in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil.
  • Other gaucho items: Traditional clothes, knifes, etc.
  • Leather items: The cow is totally used here: meat, milk, sausages, and leather; all of that is high quality.

The Florida Street and the Lavalle Street (from 500 up to 1000) are for pedestrians only, where the main tourist's shops are located. At the intersection of these two pedestrian streets, there is often some sort of interesting street performance going on, especially at night. The Palermo Viejo district is the SoHo of Buenos Aires and has many shops that will appeal to young or artsy people. Nearby is Murillo Street, a block full of leather houses.

There are many artisans' fairs, most notably the weekend Recoleta fair located in the Francia park, near Recoleta cemetery (which is an excellent place for photography) and on Sundays the San Telmo market. In every fair you will find some excellent hand made products, but beware, also there are industrialized products disguised as "hand made". This is one of the most likely places one would find a pot dealer.

In the Corrientes Ave. from the Obelisco (big obelisk landed in the intersection with 9 de Julio avenue) up to Callao Ave., you will find a lot of cheap bookstores where you can find many books mostly in Spanish. "El Ateneo," a massive bookstore with a reasonable offering of books in English, is at Santa Fe 1860.

The Último Taller at Jorge L. Borges 1975 (between Soler and Nicaragua streets) sells funky candles and street address plates and markers; there are charming cats, and photos can be etched onto these plates as well. The shop is open Monday to Saturday 10am-9pm; and its telephone number is 4831-4135. There are other stores that sell nice candles in this area as well.

Exchange money: The peso exchange rate is currently 3 pesos to the dollar or almost 4 pesos to the euro. You can exchange at Banco de la Nación Argentina at the airport, but there are many safe places downtown where one can find better rates of exchange. Before you change your money check out rates and fees!

ATM: There are several Banelco or "Red Link" ATMs all over the city that can dispense cash in pesos. This is probably the best way to get pesos in your hand, as they are more convenient and the exchange rates are usually better. Fees depend on your hometown bank and so there are few hidden surprises because the ATM can switch to English. Sometimes the machines also dispense dollars for international bank cards that are members of the Cirrus and Visa Plus/Visa Electron networks. Visitors from Brazil can find many Itaú agencies all over the city. Remember: banks open from 10 to 3 pm., only on weekdays.

Saturdays and Sundays are great days for the outdoor markets, especially in the summer. The Feria Recoleta (in Plaza Francia) is an assortment of all sorts of artesania, from jewelry to shawls; and Plaza Serrano in Palermo viejo comes alive in the afternoon with a feria of artesania in the plaza and freelance designer clothes in the bars surrounding the plaza. Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo offers tango and antiquities.

Eat

Restaurant Havanna on Buenos Aires, Argentina.

If you're not vegetarian you want to eat asado (beef/steak barbecue); if you want to try the meat specialities on offer, you should go to a parrilla, one of those are restaurants that specialize in roasted meats. You have fancy expensive parrillas, and more simple ones. Everybody eats a lot of meat here, it is really very tasty. The bife de lomo (tenderloin) is unbelievably tender in comparison to US beef and more like European cuts.

The Italian and Spanish food are almost native here, as the cultural heritage is mostly from there. Other popular meals are pizzas and empanadas (traditional meal, small self-contained pastries, stuffed with various ingredients; the traditional one is the meat empanada), you will find it comes in many varieties. They are quite a popular home delivery or takeawy/takeout option.

The Café Tortoni on Ave. de Mayo is famous in its own right; it is an old, classic and luxurious cafe. There is also a pool hall; buy a token (ficha) from a waiter for 2 pesos (0.5 euros). Coffee is 4 pesos (1 euro).

La Biela is another very nice cafe, located near the Recoleta cemetery.

One incredible and typical Argentinian kind of "cookie", is the alfajor, which basically consists of two round sweet biscuits joined together with a sweet jam, generally dulce de leche (milk jam), covered with chocolate, merengue or something like that. It's just delicious and can be easily found in any kiosko(their convenience store). Those sold at Havanna coffee shops, found all over Argentina (check their site to get the exact addresses), are just fantastic. Don't forget to try their coffee and the other kinds of candies they sell.

Budget

There are a lot of al paso (walk thru) places to eat; you eat standing up or in high chairs at the bar. Meals vary from hot-dogs (panchos), cow sausages (chorizos, or its sandwich version choripán), pizzas, milanesas (breaded fried cutlets), etc.

Mid-range

You can go to a huge variety of small restaurants, with cheap and generous servings, most notably the ones owned by Spanish and Italian immigrants. There are also many places which offer foreign meals, mostly Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian.

Splurge

The most expensive and luxurious restaurants are found in the Puerto Madero zone, near downtown, heading to the River Plate. Sometimes they are worth the price, sometimes not. Fixed price menus (three courses) can be had with drink and coffee for 25 pesos (approx. 6.25 euros); these restaurants have outside seating areas with excellent views of the dársenas, the Fragata Sarmiento and the old European-style warehouses. But the nicer places in terms of decoration, food and personality are mostly based on Palermo Viejo, Palermo SOHO or Palermo Hollywood neighbourhoods.


  • Siga la Vaca A must visit restaurant. You eat for about 30 pesos and get unlimited salad, pasta, and meat. A bottle of red wine comes with your meal as well.

Drink

The main areas to go out are: Puerto Madero, close to the Casa Rosada, renovated harbour full of restaurants, some hotels and nice for a walk. Safe during the day and night. Recoleta area close to the famous cemetery, restaurants, bars, cinema complex, used to be trendy, now mainly for tourists. Palermo SoHo and Palermo Hollywood, full of trendy stores, restaurants, and bars; young and trendy, nice for a walk, eating and drinking. Palermo Las Cañitas is another nice area close to the Polo stadium.

Buenos Aires has a popular cafe culture.

  • Cafe Tortoni Avenida de Mayo 829 between Piedras and Tacuari. Opened in 1858. The hot chocolate is incredible.
  • Confiteria Richmond Florida 468 between Lavalle and Corrientes. Mentioned in Graham Greene' The Honorary Consul. Opened in 1913. It has been modified.
  • La Biela Quintana 596 nand RM Ortiz. Luxurious. You can sit outside underneath a huge ancient rubber tree for a little bit extra.
  • Confiteria Ideal is ancient and less modified. It is located on Suipacha.
  • The unidentified cafe on the corner of Uriarte and Honduras in Palermo viejo (towards Santa Fe) has an incredible European ambiance with good food and lots of newspapers and magazines to read. Also try the community centre across the street named "Club Eros" that serves great lunches and dinners for ridiculously low prices (expect to pay 6 pesos for a menu including steak, salad, glass of wine).
  • "La Violeta" is also a lovely cafe, a bit off the beaten (tourist) path but you can take the oldest subway line in the city, Linea A, to get there. Well worth the trip.

You may want to try lágrima, a "tear" of coffee on a cup of milk.

Try mate: You can buy a mate in any Coto or Norte (these are the names for two of the many supermarket chains available, like K-Mart or Wal-Mart; anyway, this last one you can find in Buenos Aires as well) for 3-5 pesos (0.75 to 1.25 euros) and then a metal or bamboo "straw" (called a "bombilla") for around the same. Don't forget the yerba, the actual "tea" you drink; an excellent brand is Nobleza Gaucha, "Taragui", or "Rosamonte". Anyway, ask a local to help you in preparing and drinking the mate, since it's not as easy as it seems. Many visitors take mates as a gift when they go away and they become big fans (locals tend to drink it bitter (amargo), but foreigners generally like it sweet (dulce)). Outside the country, you can find yerba in Argentine stores in big cities like New York, Madrid, London, Paris, Miami, Tel-Aviv, and others.

Clubbing

For many, Buenos Aires has the best night in the world, a great variety of bars, clubs and discos, that are opened until late hours (6am or 7am). For more info on open clubs, check the city government official webpage.

Try the Niceto Club, Cocoliche, Pacha, Opera bay, Bahrein, Mint, Lost, and El Living. Other popular hangouts are the omnipresent Irish pubs. You can try Kilkenny´s in Reconquista 600 in the Retiro area or The Shamrock in Rodriguez Peña 1200, in the Recoleta area. These places are very popular with local and foreign crowds. El Milion, in Parana, between Santa Fe and Marcelo T. de Alvear is a very nice upscale bar. It is located in a refurbished petite palais from the beginning of the century. It is also very popular with foreigners.

Sonoman Bar y Resto Fitz Roy 1655 @ Honduras - Pretty hip and trendy bar with loads of Argentines dancing and drinking the night away till around 6am on weekends (maybe later who knows). There's a restaurant as well as an outside area, but you can smoke inside and outside, so prepare! Bartenders are nice and check out the disco ball, it's not like any other I've seen before. Music is a mixture of beloved 80s and dance. The drinks ain't cheap either! The Palermo Barrios (SoHo, Hollywood, Las Canita or simply "PalVo") have many fantastic restaurants that turn into bars as it gets later. New bars are always opening, so look for an updated map or guidebook when you arrive. "Bar Uriarte" is always a favorite, though.

Sleep

In addition to the choice of hotels at bargain prices compared to the US or Europe, there are many apartments available for rent for as little as one week at unbelievably low prices as of April 2005. Check out the Buenos Aires Herald website for listings, or just do a search on the internet (many of them have a website).

Budget

There is an enormous number (more than 50) of hostels in bs.as. - new ones growing every day. In the more famous hostels booking in advance might be nessesary, but you'll always find a dorm bed if you need it.

  • Milhouse Hostel: Backpackers' favorite right in the center. Definitely a party place, this huge hotel has internet facilities, and shared kitchen; also organizes many tours and tango lessons. dorm: 23/26 pesos members/nonmembers. Hipólito Yrigoyen Street 959; tel: +54 (11) 4345-9604 / +54 (11) 4343-5038.
  • La Casa Fitz Roy Hostel: Long Term Traveller's, Volunteers, ONG, Artists favorite. Right in the trendy part of the city, Palermo Hollywood,(restaurants+disco+ safest part of the city).This hostel is very clean, open areas, has internet facilities(Free),WiFi (Free), breakfast(included),Linen(included), housekeeping 7 days a week, Best matress( no more back pain!!), and shared kitchen,locker & Transfers & spanish lessons(extra), Tours and flights can be booked(No extra charge),Rates:dorm: 23/26 pesos(8.00 USD), Doubles(14 USD),Single(23USD) Fitz Roy 2461 ; tel: +54 (11) 4777-3454, Station Palermo, Metro Line D(1 block)
  • Gardenhouse Hostel: With only 16 beds, a tiny but pleasant hostel, it takes only a hour to know all guests. It is located at the outskirts of San Telmo close to the San Juan metro station. Has an outdoor terrace, but conversation is hard due to the noise of the nearby highway. A dormbed cost 21 pesos (approx. 5.25 euros) per night and comes with breakfast. Ave. San Juan 1271 (San Telmo); tel: +54 (11) 4304-1824.
  • Versalles Palace: If you're looking for a simple, clean and affordable place, this is the one. Don't expect the services of a full hotel, it's much simpler, but much, much better then a hostel, including private clean bathrooms. It's not far away from downtown, with easy bus, cab or subte(subway) access. Dr. E. Finochietto 864 tel: (54 11) 4361-7356 / 4361-7357.
  • The Clan: A lively YMCA youth hostel. If you're looking to see the nightlife of Buenos Aires this is the place for you. The parties last all night in this international environment. Very affordable with a very laid back staff. Full breakfast provided. Information on excursions and spanish classes can be found. Located 1 block from 9 de Julio and 2 blocks from Avenida de Mayo it is in the center of all the action. Alsina 912 (San Nicolas); tel: +54 (11) 4334-3401.
  • Arahaus hostel: A sweet hostel located on Calle Mexico, Congreso (at the south end of centro). This is a converted apartment with nice rooms. There is a great lounge room and free internet and a TV in the front room. It is run by a really nice chica called Hebe, who will make you feel at home, and it is cheap (current prices are: US$7 for dorm US$17 for a single room). Anyway - its definitely worth checking out for a tranquil stay in Buenos Aires. see: web: www.arahaus.com.ar, email: arahaus@yahoo.com, Tel +54 11 4382 8375, Calle Mexico 1482 (second floor) , Congreso
  • El Firulete (Downtown) Great spacious hostel in the Microcenter (Maipu 208). Large lounge with TV and projector, Free internet, helpful staff, average breakfast. $14 USD for a private room.
  • La Posta del Barto is a rather calm hostel in a nice old house. free internet, kitchen, breakfast included. dorm: 18 pesos.

Mid-range

  • The Gran Hotel Hispano on Avenida de Mayo, near Cafe Tortoni is AR$ 75 per night. It is pleasant, although mattresses are not so comfortable, the sheets are nice. Rooms are arranged around an interior courtyard and there are three floors of rooms. You may use a gym on nearby Piedras if you stay here. There are also in-room safes for which you keep a key. There are some triples available, which overlook the Avenida de Mayo. Other rooms will have doors overlooking the interior courtyard. You have the option of closing and locking your shutters so the air can still come through an open door yet maintain privacy. Shutters also block the light and allow you to sleep in late if you wish. Have showers and not bathtubs (common for this price range).
  • There is a very nice room for rent in Buenos Aires - you can check it out at The apartment is owned by a very respectable professional.
  • Edificio Montevideo [5]: Right in the middle of Recoleta, just a few steps from Libertador Av., Edificio Montevideo stands up. Owner of a superb location, it offers comfortable apartments of 1, 2 and 3 rooms, totally furnished and equipped starting at u$s 330/month..
  • Hostel San Telmo At only 14peso per person per night...its a bit cramped but because of this there is a real family atmosphere..located in the middle of San Telmo close to restaurants its a cheap place to hangout and get to know some interesting people!
  • La Acacia [6]. In the middle of beautiful Belgrano, a very nice B&B, with nice owners who home made breakfast. Close to metro (green line) and divers bus lines.
  • The Cocker [7] From the look of their website, you'd think it would sit in the 'splurge' section, but at US$60-70 per room they're definately mid-range. The place has been getting rave reviews everywhere, is right in the middle of San Telmo and run by a male English couple!

There are many beautiful Apartments to Rent for a short time period in BA. This is often a more economical option for very nice accommodations.

  • Desigbuenosaires apartments, [8]. Vacation rentals in Buenos Aires - cheap apartments, photos, prices and descriptions. Real time booking and a complete Buenos Aires city guide

Splurge

The InterContinental is on Piedras and Moreno streets, close to the San Telmo and Montserrat areas. Other international-class hotels are the Alvear Palace Hotel (said to be the most luxurious hotel in South America) in Recoleta, the Hilton, the Marriott-Plaza, the Sheraton in Retiro, and the Park Hyatt in Puerto Madero. There are also many suites-only hotels like the Broadway Suites very close to the Obelisk which have very reasonable rates.

Also, individuals rent their upscale apartments by the day, week, or month. Many times these apartments are 3 times the size of a hotel at 1/2 the price. for example, www.buenosairesrealestate.blogspot.com

Contact

The local phone code is 11. Long distance prefix: 0, international prefix: 54.

Internet cafes are widely available for 1-3 pesos per hour; and many are open 24/7. Ask for a "máquina", or simply "Internet"; the verb for print is "imprimir".

Stay safe

  • Tourist Police Station - Corrientes 436. 0800 999 5000 (toll free)/4346 5748 (turista@policiafederal.gov.ar). Provides information in English, Italian, French, Portuguese and Ukrainian.
  • Tourist Ombudsman - Communicate with the Tourist Ombudsman, phone number: 4302 7816. To contact personally, can go to Ave. Pedro de Mendoza 1835 ("Benito Quinquela Martin" Museum) in the neighborhood of La Boca. From Monday to Sunday, from 10 AM to 6 PM.
  • Emergency - Ambulance emergency service SAME (Immediate Health Emergency Service)

Toll free call. 107

  • The public water supply is reliable.
  • Public hospitals - available for tourists, offer a 24-hour emergency service, without charge.

Taxis: If you have to flag one down on the street, pay atention; there have been robberies taking place by illegal cab drivers. When in doubt, play it safer, and call a Radio Taxi; these are generally a lot safer: you call by phone and a cab is quickly dispatched. Also you can ask when you order a cab for the car number so you know the cab that comes to pick you up is legitimate and actually the one that was dispatched.

Cope

Spanish in Buenos Aires--people pronounce things differently there. "Calle" and "pollo" sound very different and the double l´s sound like sh´s instead of y´s or j's. The difference in pronunciation probably reflects the influence of Portuguese traders in the port in the 19th century...many of the words that porteños pronounce differently from the rest of the Spanish-speaking world are pronounced identically to a Portuguese word for the same thing. Much has been written on Spanish language in Buenos Aires. It was influenced by the many Italians who immigrated here as well. If you have studied Spanish you'll find these differences enormous. Also vocabulary differs a lot from Iberian Spanish or other Latin American varieties of Spanish, so may be useful to get an Argentinian dictionary or take some lessons of Argentinian Spanish before getting there. Anyway, most of "Porteños" (inhabitants of Buenos Aires City) speak a little English and a few of them are completely bilingual.

Haircuts are available at nice places for 8 pesos, or 10 pesos with a shampoo. A luxurious super-stylish one will be about 30 pesos.

Air Pollution is Buenos Aires is ironically very bad from diesel fumes spewed from cars and trucks in the city's crowded streets. If you have allergies the rampant pollution may bother you.

Get out

  • Capilla del Señor - A country town that can be visited on a day trip in an old historic steam train.

By train

There are national railways, but they are scarce. The terminal stations are the same from suburban transportation. From Retiro station you can take the train to the Tigre Delta. There you can do a boat cruise and see the wetland and recreational area of the portenos.

By car

There are four main highways entering the city, those permit fast communication with the huge suburban area and access to the national routes. As with the trains, the most important routes are centered in Buenos Aires, so you will have no problem driving to and from the rest of the country.

Heading to Rosario city, you can travel by highway all the way (north access highway, then route 9), from here you can keep going to the north by a good route (Panamericana), or turn right about 150km from Buenos Aires and go to the Mesopotamia region.

To the west, you can drive to the Cuyo region using the north access highway, then the route 8.

Going out with the west access highway, you can follow by routes 7 and 5, heading to the west and southwest, respectively. For visiting western Patagonia, the route 5 is a good choice.

Finally for visiting the Atlantic shore of Buenos Aires (province), you head to the southeast access highway and the the route 2, a very good highway to Mar del Plata city.

By bus

There are very good services parting from Retiro bus station, covering the whole country. By buying the most expensive tickets, you can get very comfortable seats and on-board meals.

Terminal de Omnibus de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires

  • Address: Antártida Argentina avenue & Ramos Mejía
  • Phone: 4310-0700
  • Subte: Retiro (Linea C)

There are numerous operators. The basement level is for cargo and package services. The ground level holds waiting areas, cafes, shops and services including a barber. The upper level contains the ticket offices, or boleterias. The upper level is conveniently divided by color into geographic areas for companies which serve the place you want to go, including an international area. Look for the signs.

Cama Suites or Dormi Camas lie completely flat and some have dividing curtains. With these services, the seating arrangement is one seat one side and two seats on the other side. Other Cama services are laid out two and two, and do not recline as far. Companies usually have photographs of bus interiors. Make sure the journey you choose has the service you want. Most buses are double decker.

See also: Buenos Aires (disambiguation)



This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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